the anti-Oedipus

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Fenestration of the Ear, 1948, Oil and pencil, 384 x 270mm
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By PEDRO PAULO ROCHA*

Considerations on the book by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari

the anti-Oedipus it's not just any book! It is not a book to comment on. Its noisy singularity surpasses the 50th anniversary of its launch in 1972. Before celebrating – because there is nothing to celebrate – it is necessary to devour it with the strength of a desire for transformation that belongs to our moment. His labyrinth of ideas launches us into the now, without going back to the past or traveling to the future.

Usually books are treated as if they were sacred, holders of a pure message, the eternal book of God, containing eternal ideas that would be interpreted, revealed by us to enlighten the world. But in case the anti-Oedipus its creation process goes beyond manifest content. It's not a cult book, it's an iconoclastic book.

And what to do with a book? As we read it, we soon realize that this book, with its internal agitations, is built as a process inseparable from our anthropophagic appropriation of it. The phrase “Nothing to interpret, everything to experience” that summarizes schizoanalysis (praxis term created in the anti-Oedipus) also serves to use the book itself as a process and machine of what we can create with it.

Our active participation here is contingent on leaving the universal history predetermined by society and diving into the forces of transformation of the times we live in. It is not possible to separate from the processes that we are already fragmented parts of.

the anti-Oedipus it is a bomb book, an explosive, disruptive, untimely book in its time. Its wreckage falls on us provocatively. It is the offspring of the political and cultural events of May 1968 in France. It detonates the institutionalized discourses of philosophy, psychoanalysis, linguistics, anthropology, and the general mentality of the time.

It calls into question a series of beliefs that constituted university, academic-philosophical, psychoanalytical, sociological, and anthropological discourses, questioning the place of power of these hegemonic knowledges. Between what happened before and what happened after 68, this book is both a result of these events and a radical critique of the de-potentialization that ensued due to the rapid capture of the imaginary of rupture by the new artificial territories of capital.

It is the memory without memory and the future without a future that traverse the now of what happened and what could happen. A dense book in its Virtuality and actuality. You are not trapped in your historical time because your historical time was the time outside of time materializing the imagination of the future, accelerating the transformation.

Only in the now, in an untimely-extemporaneous way, is it possible to extract from his ideas their maximum actuality and virtuality, inseparable from what is agitated in reality.

the anti-Oedipus It's an attack book, not a defense book! Among its various lines of combat that rebel against the Despot, the psychoanalytic Oedipus, the line of attack on Capitalism and its micro-fascist logic is one of its most insurgent traits. Capitalism, in conjunction with the classic psychoanalytic institution and the bourgeois family, produces artificial territories of control, imposing modes and laws, in the form of axioms, erecting walls, generating guilt and servitude, creating blockages against desires that cannot be reduced to their limits. Capitalism manifests its necro nature by absorbing, transforming and controlling everything that crosses it by putting its killing machine into operation.

Starting from these first questions about the anti-Oedipus, written by the philosophers and schizoanalysts Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, I want to launch in this short essay a series of provocative questions without answers because there are no more answers to anything without a possible action of bodies in the passion of their desire against a world impossible to bear.

Faced with all the fascist desire that attacks us daily, what is our desire for transformation? What is our wish?

There is today in Brazil a contained desire for transformation that is completely different from the fascist desire that wants to eliminate us. It is necessary to affirm this other desire that is not the fascist desire, this desire for the destruction of a Bolsonarist flat earth revolution propagated in waves by the right.

The questions asked in the anti-Oedipus in relation to the unspeakable power of destruction of capitalism – “We haven't seen anything yet! how far can they go? can they make this all worse?” hover in the air by the force of this fascist desire to self-produce as a constant process of creation of social reality. Thus, through its production process of delirium, the fascist desire becomes a social reality. Desire is a production of reals, however crazy it may be”.

Even if the dystopia created by the harshness of life in the last years of the successive coups does not cease to advance over the bodies and people who feed on bones, the other desire that is not the fascist also has its power of imagination as we see in art. , as in carnival, and in our everyday existences and resistances, in our movements and groups, in our dreams.

What are those wishes? Without desire it is impossible! What to do with ideas when they want to transform the world itself but they don't seem to fit in it? Or what to think when the world is no longer the same, and ideas no longer fit? And what force do these disconnects between ideas and a world inseparable from their ideological simulacrum have? What is the limit between reforming an old world with all its injustices and violence and the collective desire for a molecular revolution that causes communitarian and micropolitical transformations within common life? Is there anything beyond the limits of social life imposed by necropolitical capital?

We live trapped inside universes made of artificial gardens generated by capital and social technology that vampirize and privatize our desire to increasingly make us consume until destruction and total exhaustion, paranoia and illness. Are we cogs in these cogs? The time has come when everyone is a commodity of cognitive capitalism. Symptoms spread. The capital virus infects everything. The skins, the screens and the surfaces. People are objects of consumption, their time, their identity, their lives, their political choices. Global people formatted to feed consumption and added value that exploits our lives with its infinite accumulation of profit.

The work does not stop. With or without a job, in our spare time and even sleeping, capitalism introjected itself inside us, it got inside our pores, modulating our subjectivity to the point that its end could never even be imagined. Free time is over. Leisure disappears into the mental constant of capital in our consciousness.

It is precisely in these artificial gardens of necropolitics that the plastic flowers of death melt in the heat of the cultural war, forming an extremely fertile mud for the birth of microfascisms.

Among the thousand plateaus, a thousand possible readings on the anti-Oedipus it is important to highlight the tensions between the limits and their overcoming of capitalism that the desire for transformation provokes. This tension between molecular and molar social desire runs through the book, which can be considered one of the last works of French philosophy beyond its ideology in simulacra of transformations that never happen because they are ghettoized in institutions.

Desire is the real character of this thing-book, as Michel Foucault named it in one of his classes on the events of 1968 and its relationship with knowledge. Do I want this? What do we want?

The desire that is reduced to an idealized object, becomes a lack, an emptiness – it loses its concrete force to draw from the available means a difference in potency. Desire is not lacking, desire lacks nothing. Desire is never individual, it is always in two, in many, in groups. Desire crosses the walls. Desire is contagious. Desire creates.

But it is on desire that all repression hinges. It is necessary to make the body a means of surplus value to contain it and store it for its worst use and to generate the maximum tension of the unproductive of a body that can no longer withstand the production of capital. At that moment, desire is already pure lack artificialized by the axiomatics of capital. Until it empties all the pleasure in life so that the desire is a desire for servitude on the edge of a fascist desire for destruction as we see in Brazil today.

The neo-fascist machine in Brazil invested in this collective desire in tension with the social to provide a despotic authoritarian rupture and regulate a permanent State of Exception. From the fascist gesture to the legal system, without the fascist desire, fascism would not exist, it would not be this harsh reality that affects us.

Against Oedipus, the central character of the corporate family of capitalism, desire opposes itself with its life force of affirmation of other multiplicities of living the body and the relationship with nature, with work, machines and collectives. Life is a process and desire is the machine for inventing this process.

“It works everywhere (does it still work?): sometimes non-stop, sometimes discontinuously”. Does it still breathe? Does it heat? Does it still eat? Intensities, we are all montages, yourselfers. Machines. Connections. Pauses and Movements. Fragments of a growing kaoz. Information and counter-information. Conjunctions and Disjunctions. Cut Flow. Process process. Records Production Consumption. Parts without any totality. Parts of sets, dispersed. Images. Sounds. Ideas. We are transversal. Conglomerates. In line of escape. Flows and ebbs. Crowd Bodies. Peoples, Becomings. Art. Lands. Nomads. Processes in permanent transformation. Virtual about to become actual.

Our desires, after all, will take us where? Is it possible to avoid them until when? sell them? Block them? Or will we be chewed up by the mega capital machine that transforms every desire into a desire for accumulation, profit and visibility? Or can our desire be further intensified by getting rid of the parts of the capturing machines?

Our collective multitude force cannot remain subdued! A power of molecular revolution overflows everywhere and things. Only in this way was it possible to overcome the impossible of those years of defeat by fascism, we had to occupy, exist and re-exist, in spaces and networks, creating and strengthening movements.

The fact that we know what we don't want is a first step towards affirming what this collective desire is capable of, but it is not enough, because it is necessary to live our desire simultaneously as a process of greater transformation. The deceleration of fascism depends on the speed of rupture of what we collectively want to transform.

* Pedro Paulo Rocha is an artist and schizo-analyst.

 

Reference


Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. the anti-Oedipus. Translation: Luiz BL Orlandi. São Paulo, Editora 34, 560 pages.

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